April 10, 2012

How To Build An Interest in Mathematics

Mathematics is a demon for most of our young students and no matter how interesting it may seem to the experts, to newbies its generally a subject they tend to avoid.
The most important reason that causes the disinterest in mathematics is that students never consider it as a hobby. Their academic deadlines about their mathematical examinations often put stress on them and while studying mathematics they are generally inclined to unwillingly engulf this subject rather than developing an understanding of the various mathematical concepts. This situation requires three basic procedures from a teacher's point of view:

  1. the teacher should recognize the signals of the student's disinterest in mathematics and try to reconcile the situation informally, 
  2. he/she should give the student some margin of comfort. Relaxation in a test will generate confidence within the student, and,
  3. try to give the students some mathematical tasks that are not apparently academic oriented. For example 2 + 3 = 5 is on way of teaching ( academic oriented way) mathematics, whereas 2 apples + 3 apples = 5 apples ( less formal way) of teaching mathematics. The second approach is a bit more non-formal and thus more effective.

One more factor that often hampers even the most professionally trained mathematics teachers to perform well, is the distinction between the "attitude towards mathematics" and "aptitude for mathematics".
Teachers often perceive a student's lower grades in mathematics as his lack of "aptitude for mathematics". They never consider that aptitude always comes after attitude. In other words, if the teachers try to build a student's "attitude towards mathematics", the aptitude will surely rise with it. But if they mark a student solely on the basis of his apparent grades in mathematics and consider that he will never get better, the scenario is only gonna get worse.
The requirement under such cases is that the teacher should encourage the students to develop a more serious attitude towards mathematics. If a student seriously practices mathematics for 3 to 4 hours daily, his/her aptitude for mathematics will surely increase.